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Toronto lawyers dedicated to helping people charged with impaired driving

How do police spot drunk drivers?

Many people wonder how police catch drunk drivers in Canada. Here are the some of the most common ways:

  1. Roadside stop/check and RIDE programs. The Supreme Court of Canada authorized police to conduct roadside stop points to check for drunk drivers. Normally drivers are required to roll down their window and speak to the police where police will look for signs of impairment. This often includes the odor of alcohol and dilation of the pupils (in reaction to them shining a flashlight in your eyes). Police will tend to select locations that have both a high level of traffic and have obstructions to make it hard for drivers to see the stop point in advance. This usually means on the opposite of an overpass (which obscures the view of the stop point until it is too late).

  2. Calls to police. Many drunk drivers are caught as a result of intoxicating themselves in a public place and leaving only to have the people call the police and report their car/license plate. This happens quite often. If you drink in bars and drive home you are at a high risk of getting caught by way of someone calling the police on you. Another large source of calls to the police to report drunk driving come from fast food employees reporting intoxicated drivers in their drive thrus.

  3. Police watching parking lots of bars and drinking establishments. Police will often patrol bars and nightclubs watching the parking lots for drunk drivers and pulling them over once they get behind the wheel. Sometimes these officers are under cover or in unmarked cars. Again, the individuals get caught by drinking publicly then driving.

  4. Driving to the liquor store drunk and purchasing alcohol. Employees of liquor stores often call the police on customers who drive to the store drunk. Security guards, and sometimes police themselves, watch parking lots for intoxicated drivers (particularly on Friday and Saturday nights).

  5. Extreme intoxication. While someone with a .09 BAC would be relatively hard to detect based on driving alone, those with extremely high blood alcohol levels will often swerve, cross lines, drive at an unusually slow or fast rate of speed, and make obvious driving errors that will make them targets to be pulled over.

  6. Self reporting. This often goes along with extreme intoxication. An individual chooses to pull over and (foolishly) call the police to report themselves for DUI. This is common for younger adults who try to “do the right thing”. Unfortunately, they end up with tremendous costs and lifelong consequences for this act of righteousness. Doing the right thing is pulling over and leaving the vehicle to be picked up later. Calling the police is foolish.

  7. Family members and friends reporting it to the police. Never assume those you are drinking with will not call the police on you. Many people, even close friends and family members, will watch you get in your car and drive away drunk and then anonymously report you by calling 911. They don't want to confront you, but have no problem seeing you charged.

  8. Being pulled over for other infractions. If you’re drinking and driving, don’t even think about using your cell phone, speeding, or running a red light. It’s this type of stupid, unnecessary behaviour that causes you to get pulled over and subjected to searches for DUI.

Who are the hardest drunk drivers to catch?

The hardest person for the police to catch drinking and driving is the individual who:

  1. gets drunk in private alone and drives alone;
  2. who follows the rules of the road;
  3. does not drive at an unusually slow or fast rate of speed (drives the speed limit);
  4. stays in their lane and does not swerve;
  5. does not make stops mid trip such as at drive thrus; and
  6. avoids spot checks and RIDE programs (turns around if possible).

Impaired drivers who get drunk alone in a non public place and then drive somewhere alone (without talking to anyone) are harder to catch. These people still get caught and charged if they get into an accident, are found sleeping behind the wheel, or fail to drive well enough to sufficiently avoid detection.

Sometimes a third party is 100% responsible for an accident involving a drunk driver. While the drunk driver is not at fault for the accident, they still get caught and charged for DUI when the police arrive and arrest them. Furthermore their insurance company may deny them coverage as they have violated their policy by driving drunk.

Each year about 50,000 Canadians are arrested and charged with DUI. While some drunk drivers are easier to detect than others, nobody is immune to prosecution.

Call us today.

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with impaired driving offences throughout Ontario.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on impaired driving related charges protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.

    call us: 647-228-5969


  call us: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending an impaired driving related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel